[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 125 (Friday, June 28, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38915-38922]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15597]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Notice of Available Funding and Grant Application Deadlines

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Funding Availability.

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SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the availability of 
$17,531,000 in grant funds and solicitation of applications for the 
Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program for the Fiscal 
Year (FY) 2013 competition.

DATES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically per the following deadlines:
     Paper submissions: Paper submissions must be postmarked 
and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than August 12, 2013 to 
be eligible for FY 2013 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications 
will not be eligible for FY 2013 grant funding.
     Electronic submissions: Electronic submissions must be 
received by August 12, 2013 to be eligible for FY 2013 grant funding. 
Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2013 grant 
funding.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the FY 2013 Application Guides and materials for 
the DLT grant program may be obtained at the following sources:
    (1) The DLT Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLTResources.html and
    (2) You may also request application guides and materials from RUS 
by contacting the DLT Program at 202-720-0665.
    Completed applications may be submitted in the following ways:
    (1) Paper: Paper applications are to be submitted to the Rural 
Utilities Service, Telecommunications Program, 1400 Independence Ave. 
SW., Room 2845, STOP 1550, Washington, DC 20250-1550. Applications 
should be marked ``Attention: Acting Director, Advanced Services 
Division.''
    (2) Electronic: Electronic applications may be submitted through 
Grants.gov. Information on how to submit applications electronically is 
available on the Grants.gov Web site (http://www.grants.gov). 
Applicants must successfully pre-register with Grants.gov to use the 
electronic applications option. Application information may be 
downloaded from Grants.gov without preregistration.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Norberto Esteves, Acting Director, 
Advanced Services Division, Telecommunications Programs, Rural 
Utilities Service. Email: norberto.esteves@wdc.usda.gov. Telephone: 
202-720-0665, fax: 202-720-1051.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    Funding Opportunity Title: Distance Learning and Telemedicine 
Grants.
    Announcement Type: Notice of Solicitation of Applications.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.855.
    Dates: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
     Paper submissions must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, 
or sent overnight no later than August 12, 2013 to be eligible for FY 
2013 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications are not eligible 
for FY 2013 grant funding.

Electronic copies must be received by August 12, 2013 to be eligible 
for FY 2013 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications are not 
eligible for FY 2013 grant funding.

Items in Supplementary Information

I. Funding Opportunity: Brief introduction to the DLT program.
II. Minimum and Maximum Application Amounts: Projected Available 
Funding.
III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, and what kinds of 
projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility.
IV. SUTA: The applicant needs to notify RUS that it is seeking 
consideration under the 7 CFR 1700, Substantially Underserved Trust 
Areas (the SUTA regulation) and identifies the discretionary 
authorities of the Secretary of Agriculture described in the SUTA 
regulation that it seeks to have applied to its application.
V. Application and Submission Information: Where to get application 
materials, what constitutes a completed application, how and where 
to submit applications, deadlines, and items that are eligible.
VI. Application Review Information: Considerations and preferences, 
scoring criteria, review standards, and selection information.
VII. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, 
award recipient and reporting requirements.

[[Page 38916]]

VIII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name.

I. Funding Opportunity

    DLT grants are specifically designed to provide access to 
education, training and health care resources for people in rural 
America.
    The DLT Program provides financial assistance to encourage and 
improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural 
areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and 
related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers, medical 
professionals, and rural residents.
    The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be 
used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video 
equipment and related advanced technologies which extend educational 
and medical applications into rural locations. Grants are made for 
projects where the benefit is primarily delivered to end users that are 
not at the same location as the source of the education or health care 
service.
    As in years past, the FY 2013 DLT Grant Application Guide has been 
updated based on program experience. All applicants should carefully 
review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the 
FY 2013 Application Guide and sample materials when compiling a DLT 
grant application.
    The Agency notes that the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 
2008 (Pub. L. 110-234) expressly added the category of libraries under 
Sec. 2333(c)(1) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act 
of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 950aaa-2(a)(1)) to clearly establish that libraries 
are eligible to be recipients of DLT Loans and Grants. This confirms 
the longstanding Agency policy of considering libraries to be eligible 
entities under the DLT Program. The regulation for the DLT Grant 
Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1703, subpart E.

II. Maximum and Minimum Amount of Applications

    Under 7 CFR 1703.124, the Administrator has determined the maximum 
amount of a grant to be made available to an applicant in FY 2013 is 
$500,000, and the minimum amount of a grant is $50,000, subject to 
availability of funding.
    The Agency will make awards and execute documents appropriate to 
the project prior to any advance of funds to successful applicants.
    DLT grants cannot be renewed. Award documents specify the term of 
each award. The Agency will make awards and execute documents 
appropriate to the project prior to any advance of funds to successful 
applicants. Applications from existing DLT awardees are acceptable 
(grant applications must be submitted during the application window) 
and will be evaluated as new applications.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Who is eligible for a grant? (See 7 CFR 1703.103.)

    1. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are 
eligible for DLT financial assistance:
    a. An incorporated organization or partnership,
    b. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 
450b,
    c. A state or local unit of government,
    d. A consortium, as defined in 7 CFR 1703.102, or
    e. Other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on 
a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.
    2. Individuals are not eligible for DLT program financial 
assistance directly.
    3. Electric and telecommunications borrowers under the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 950aaa et seq.) are not eligible 
for grants.
    4. Corporations that have been convicted of a felony (or had an 
officer or agency acting on behalf of the corporation convicted of a 
felony) within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any corporation 
that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for 
which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or 
have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to 
an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax 
liability, is not eligible for financial assistance.

B. What are the basic eligibility requirements for a project?

    1. Required matching contributions for grants: See 7 CFR 
1703.125(g) and the FY 2013 Application Guide for information on 
required matching contributions.
    a. Grant applicants must demonstrate matching contributions, in 
cash or in kind (new, non-depreciated items), of at least fifteen (15) 
percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested. Matching 
contributions must be used for eligible purposes of DLT grant 
assistance (see 7 CFR 1703.121, paragraphs V.H.1.b of this Notice and 
the FY 2013 Application Guide).
    b. Greater amounts of eligible matching contributions may increase 
an applicant's score (see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(4) and the FY 2013 
Application Guide).
    c. Applications that do not provide evidence of the required 
fifteen percent match will be declared ineligible and returned unless a 
SUTA waiver of matching funds is granted . See paragraphs V.H.1.c and 
VI.B.2.c of this Notice, and the FY 2013 Application Guide for specific 
information on documentation of matching contributions.
    d. Applications that do not document all matching contributions in 
form and substance satisfactory to the Agency as described in the 
Application Guide are subject to disallowance which may make an 
application ineligible for not meeting the minimum required match.
    2. The DLT grant program is designed to bring the benefits of 
distance learning and telemedicine to residents of rural America (see 7 
CFR 1703.103(a)(2)). Therefore, to be eligible, applicants must:
    a. Operate a rural community facility; or
    b. Deliver distance learning or telemedicine services to entities 
that operate a rural community facility or to residents of rural areas, 
at rates calculated to ensure that the benefit of the financial 
assistance is passed through to such entities or to residents of rural 
areas.
    3. Rurality.
    a. All projects proposed for DLT grant assistance must meet a 
minimum rurality threshold, to ensure that benefits from the projects 
flow to rural residents. The minimum eligibility score is 20 points.
    b. Each application must apply the following criteria to each of 
its end-user sites, and hubs that are also proposed as end-user sites, 
to determine a rurality score. The rurality score is the average of all 
end-user sites' rurality scores.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                            DLT
                   Criterion                                    Character                   Population    points
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Exceptionally Rural Area.......................  any area of the USA not included within         <= 5000   45
                                                  the boundaries of any incorporated or
                                                  unincorporated city, village, or
                                                  borough having a population in excess
                                                  of 5,000 inhabitants.

[[Page 38917]]

 
Rural Area.....................................  any area of the USA included within the   > 5000 and <=   30
                                                  boundaries of any incorporated or               10,000
                                                  unincorporated city, village, or
                                                  borough having a population over 5,000
                                                  and not in excess of 10,000
                                                  inhabitants.
Mid-Rural Area.................................  any area of the USA included within the  >10,000 and <=   15
                                                  boundaries of any incorporated or               20,000
                                                  unincorporated city, village, or
                                                  borough having a population over
                                                  10,000 and not in excess of 20,000
                                                  inhabitants.
Urban Area.....................................  any area of the USA included within the        > 20,000    0
                                                  boundaries of any incorporated or
                                                  unincorporated city, village, or
                                                  borough having a population in excess
                                                  of 20,000 inhabitants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    c. The rurality score is one of the competitive scoring criteria 
applied to grant applications.
    4. Projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier 
Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) are not eligible for financial 
assistance from the DLT Program. Please see 7 CFR 1703.123(a)(11), 7 
CFR 1703.132(a)(5), and 7 CFR 1703.142(b)(3).
    C. Where to find full discussion of a Complete Application. See 
Section V of this Notice and the FY 2013 Application Guide for a 
discussion of the items that comprise a complete application. For 
requirements of completed applications you may also refer to 7 CFR 
1703.125 for grant applications. The FY 2013 Application Guide provides 
specific, detailed instructions for each item that constitutes a 
complete application. The Agency strongly emphasizes the importance of 
including every required item (as explained in the FY 2013 Application 
Guide) and strongly encourages applicants to follow the instructions 
carefully, using the examples and illustrations in the FY 2013 
Application Guide. Applications which do not include all items that 
determine project eligibility and applicant eligibility by the 
application deadline will be returned as ineligible. Scoring and 
eligibility information not provided by the application deadline will 
not be solicited or considered by the Agency. Applications that do not 
include all items necessary for scoring will be scored as is. Please 
see the FY 2013 Application Guide for a full discussion of each 
required item and for samples and illustrations.

IV. SUTA

    The 2008 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 110-246, codified at 7 U.S.C. 906f), 
authorizes the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provisions, 
as implemented by RUS as regulation 7 CFR 1700, Substantially 
Underserved Trust Areas (the SUTA regulation). Under the SUTA 
regulation, the applicant may request the Agency apply one or more SUTA 
provisions to its application. To receive consideration the applicant 
needs to submit to RUS a completed application in compliance with 7 CFR 
1703 (the DLT regulation), and include a section requesting 
consideration under the SUTA regulation. This section notifies RUS that 
the applicant is seeking consideration under the SUTA regulation and 
identifies the discretionary authorities the Secretary of Agriculture 
described in the SUTA regulation--that it seeks to have applied to its 
application. In this section the applicant must include the information 
demonstrating eligibility for consideration under the SUTA regulation, 
and an explanation and documentation of the high need for the DLT 
benefits. RUS will review the application to determine whether the 
applicant is eligible to receive consideration under SUTA. RUS will 
notify the applicant in writing whether (1) the application is eligible 
to receive consideration under this subpart and if one or more SUTA 
requests are granted; or (2) the application is not eligible to receive 
further consideration under the SUTA regulation. If the SUTA request is 
not granted, the applicant may withdraw its application or, if the 
application is still eligible without SUTA consideration, request that 
RUS treat its application as an ordinary application for processing. 
For more detailed guidance on how to apply for a grant under SUTA, 
please refer to the 2013 FY 2013 Application Guide available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLTResources.html.

V. Application and Submission Information

A. Where To Get Application Information

    FY 2013 Application Guides, copies of necessary forms and samples, 
and the DLT Program regulation are available from these sources:
    1. The Internet: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLTResources.html
    2. The DLT Program for paper copies of these materials: 202-720-
0665.

B. Emphasis in FY 2013

    1. Applicants are reminded that the DLT Grant Program is intended 
to meet the educational and health care needs of rural America. Hub 
sites may be located in rural or non-rural areas, but end-user sites 
need to be located in rural areas. Non-fixed sites serving a 
geographical service area may include non-rural areas. However, for 
determining rurality and NSLP scores every incorporated and non-
incorporated city, village or borough must be listed and scored 
accordingly, including those jurisdictions which are more populated 
than those defined as rural. The necessary inclusion of non-rural 
jurisdictions in these types of projects could cause a lower rurality 
score by virtue of the project's geographic and demographic layout. 
Because of this, the applicant should make an effort to reveal how 
their project will focus the delivery of service to the rural residents 
of their service territory. From a competitive standpoint, applicants 
could offset the loss of rurality points by attempting to score higher 
in the subjective areas of needs and benefits, innovativeness, and cost 
effectiveness with well crafted narratives. The FY 2013 Application 
Guide contains language clarifying this provision of the regulation.
    2. If a grant application includes a site that is included in any 
other DLT grant application for FY 2013, or a site that has been 
included in any DLT grant funded in FY 2012 or FY 2011, the application 
should contain a detailed explanation of the related applications or 
grants. The Agency must make a nonduplication finding for each grant 
approved, and apparent but unexplained duplication of funding for a 
site can prevent such a finding.

C. What constitutes a completed application?

1. For DLT Grants
    a. Detailed information on each item in the table in paragraph 
V.C.1.h of this Notice can be found in the sections of the DLT Program 
regulation listed in the

[[Page 38918]]

table, and the DLT grant Application Guide. Applicants are strongly 
encouraged to read and apply both the regulation and the Applications 
Guide, which elaborates and explains the regulation.
    (1) When the table refers to a narrative, it means a written 
statement, description or other written material prepared by the 
applicant, for which no form exists. The Agency recognizes that each 
project is unique and requests narratives to allow applicants to 
explain their request for financial assistance.
    (2) When documentation is requested, it means letters, 
certifications, legal documents, or other third-party documentation 
that provide evidence that the applicant meets the listed requirement. 
For example, to confirm rurality scores, applicants can use printouts 
from the Web site http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Leveraging documentation generally will be letters of 
commitment from the funding sources. In-kind matches must be items 
purchased after the application deadline date that are essential to the 
project and documentation from the donor must demonstrate the 
relationship of each item to the project's function. Evidence of legal 
existence is sometimes proven by submitting articles of incorporation. 
The examples here are not intended to limit the types of documentation 
that must be submitted to fulfill a requirement. DLT Program 
regulations and the Application Guide provide specific guidance on each 
of the items in the table.
    b. The DLT Application Guide and ancillary materials provide all 
necessary sample forms and worksheets.
    c. While the table in paragraph V.C.1.h of this Notice includes all 
items of a completed application, the Agency may ask for additional or 
clarifying information for applications which, as submitted by the 
deadline, appear to clearly demonstrate that they meet eligibility 
requirements. The Agency will not solicit or accept eligibility or 
scoring information submitted after the application deadline.
    d. Given the high volume of program interest, to expedite 
processing applicants are asked to submit the required application 
items in the order depicted in the FY 2013 Application Guide. The FY 
2013 Application Guide specifies the format and order of all required 
items. Applications that are not assembled and tabbed in the order 
specified prevent timely determination of eligibility. For applications 
with inconsistency among submitted copies, the Agency will base its 
evaluation on the original signed application received by the Agency.
    e. DUNS Number. The applicant for a grant must supply a Dun and 
Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as part of an 
application. The Standard Form 424 (SF-424) contains a field for the 
DUNS number. The applicant can obtain the DUNS number free of charge by 
calling Dun and Bradstreet. Please see http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform 
for more information on how to obtain a DUNS number or how to verify 
your organization's number.
    f. Prior to submitting an application, the applicant must register 
in the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor 
Registry, (CCR)).
    (1) Applicants may register for the SAM at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
    (2) The SAM registration must remain active with current 
information at all times while RUS is considering an application or 
while a Federal Grant Award or loan is active. To maintain the 
registration in the SAM database the applicant must review and update 
the information in the SAM database annually from date of initial 
registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must 
ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and 
complete.
    g. Compliance with other federal statutes. The applicant must 
provide evidence of compliance with other federal statutes and 
regulations, including, but not limited to the following:
    (1) 7 CFR part 15, subpart A--Nondiscrimination in Federally 
Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture--Effectuation of 
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    (2) 7 CFR part 3015--Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations.
    (3) 7 CFR part 3017--Government-wide Debarment and Suspension (Non-
procurement).
    (4) 7 CFR part 3018--New Restrictions on Lobbying.
    (5) 7 CFR part 3021--Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free 
Workplace.
    h. Table of Required Elements of a Completed Grant Application.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Required items, unless otherwise noted
                               -----------------------------------------
       Application item           Grants  (7 CFR
                                  1703.125 and 7          Comment
                                  CFR 1703.126)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SF-424 (Application for         Yes..............  Completely filled
 Federal Assistance form).                          out.
Site Worksheet................  Yes..............  Agency worksheet.
Survey on Ensuring Equal        Optional.........  OMB Form.
 Opportunity for Applicants.
Evidence of Legal Authority to  Yes..............  Documentation.
 Contract with the Government.
Evidence of Legal Existence...  Yes..............  Documentation.
Executive Summary.............  Yes..............  Narrative.
Telecommunications System Plan  Yes..............  Narrative &
 and Scope of Work.                                 documentation such
                                                    as maps and
                                                    diagrams.
Budget........................  Yes..............  Agency Worksheets
                                                    with documentation.
Financial Information/          Yes..............  Narrative.
 Sustainability.
Statement of Experience.......  Yes..............  Narrative 3-page,
                                                    single-spaced limit.
Rurality Worksheet............  Yes..............  Agency worksheet with
                                                    documentation.
National School Lunch Program   Yes..............  Agency worksheet with
 (NSLP) Worksheet.                                  documentation.
Leveraging Evidence and         Yes..............  Agency worksheet and
 Funding Commitments from all                       source
 Sources.                                           documentation.
Empowerment Zone designation..  Yes..............  Documentation.
Request for Additional NSLP...  Optional.........  Agency Worksheet and
                                                    narrative.
Request for SUTA information..  Optional.........  Application Guide.
Need for and Benefits derived   Yes..............  Narrative &
 from Project.                                      documentation.
Innovativeness of the Project.  Yes..............  Narrative &
                                                    documentation.

[[Page 38919]]

 
Cost Effectiveness of Project.  Yes..............  Narrative &
                                                    documentation.
Consultation with the USDA      Yes..............  Documentation.
 State Director, Rural
 Development, and evidence
 that application conforms to
 State Strategic Plan, if any.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Certifications
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Equal Opportunity and           Yes..............  Form provided in FY
 Nondiscrimination.                                 2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Architectural Barriers........  Yes..............  Form provided in FY
                                                    2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Flood Hazard Area Precautions.  Yes..............  Form provided in FY
                                                    2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Uniform Relocation Assistance   Yes..............  Form provided in FY
 and Real Property Acquisition                      2013 Application
 Policies Act of 1970.                              Tool Kit.
Drug-Free Workplace...........  Yes..............  Form provided in FY
                                                    2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Debarment, Suspension, and      Yes..............  Form provided in FY
 Other Responsibility Matters--                     2013 Application
 Primary Covered Transactions.                      Tool Kit.
Lobbying for Contracts,         Yes..............  Form provided in FY
 Grants, Loans, and                                 2013 Application
 Cooperative Agreements.                            Tool Kit.
Non-Duplication of Services...  Yes..............  Form provided in FY
                                                    2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Environmental Impact/Historic   Yes..............  Form provided in FY
 Preservation Certification.                        2013 Application
                                                    Tool Kit.
Assurance Regarding Felony      Yes..............  Form provided in the
 Conviction or Tax Delinquent                       FY 2013 Application
 Status for Corporate                               Tool. Kit.
 Applicants.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. How many copies of an application are required?

1. Applications Submitted on Paper
    a. Submit the original application and two (2) copies to RUS; and
    b. Submit one (1) additional copy to the state government single 
point of contact (if one has been designated) at the same time as you 
submit the application to the Agency for the State where the project is 
located. If the project is located in more than one State, submit a 
copy to each state government single point of contact. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc for an updated listing of State 
government single points of contact.
    2. Electronically submitted applications. Grant applications may be 
submitted electronically. Please carefully read the FY 2013 Application 
Guide for guidance on submitting an electronic application. In 
particular, we ask that you identify and number each page in the same 
way you would a paper application so that we can assemble them as you 
intended.
    a. The additional paper copy is not necessary if you submit the 
application electronically through Grants.gov.
    b. Submit one (1) copy to the state government single point of 
contact (if one has been designated) at the same time as you submit the 
application to the Agency. If the project is located in more than one 
State, submit a copy to each state government single point of contact. 
See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc for an updated listing 
of State government single points of contact.

E. How and where to submit an application. Grant applications may be 
submitted on paper or electronically

1. Submitting Applications on Paper
    a. Address paper applications to the Telecommunications Program, 
RUS, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. 
SW., Room 2845, STOP 1550, Washington, DC 20250-1550. Applications 
should be marked ``Attention: Acting Director, Advanced Services 
Division.''
    b. Paper grant applications must show proof of mailing or shipping 
by the deadline consisting of one of the following:
    (i) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark;
    (ii) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the 
USPS; or
    (iii) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial 
carrier.
    c. Due to screening procedures at the Department of Agriculture, 
packages arriving via regular mail through the USPS are irradiated, 
which can damage the contents and delay delivery to the DLT Program. 
RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this procedure in 
selecting their application delivery method.
2. Electronically Submitted Applications
    a. Applications will not be accepted via fax or electronic mail.
    b. Electronic applications for grants will be accepted if submitted 
through the Federal government's Grants.gov initiative at http://www.grants.gov/.
    c. How to use Grants.gov.
    (i) Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required 
passwords, credentialing and software.
    (ii) System for Award Management. Submitting an application through 
Grants.gov requires that your organization list in the System for Award 
Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor Registry, CCR). The 
Agency strongly recommends that you obtain your organization's DUNS 
number and SAM listing well in advance of the deadline specified in 
this notice.
    (iii) Credentialing and authorization of applicants. Grants.gov 
will also require some credentialing and online authentication 
procedures. These procedures may take several business days to 
complete, further emphasizing the need for early action by applicants 
to complete the sign-up, credentialing and authorization procedures at 
Grants.gov before you submit an application at that Web site.
    (iv) Some or all of the SAM and Grants.gov registration, 
credentialing and authorizations require updates. If you have 
previously registered at Grants.gov to submit applications 
electronically, please ensure that your registration, credentialing and 
authorizations are up to date well in advance of the grant application 
deadline.
    d. RUS encourages applicants who wish to apply through Grants.gov 
to submit their applications in advance of the deadlines.

[[Page 38920]]

    e. If a system problem occurs or you have technical difficulties 
with an electronic application, please use the customer support 
resources available at the Grants.gov Web site.

F. Deadlines

    1. Paper grant applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, 
or sent overnight no later than August 12, 2013 to be eligible for FY 
2013 grant funding. Late applications, applications which do not 
include proof of mailing or shipping as described in paragraph 
V.E.1.b., and incomplete applications are not eligible for FY 2013 
grant funding.
    2. Electronic grant applications must be received by August 12, 
2013 to be eligible for FY 2013 funding. Late or incomplete 
applications will not be eligible for FY 2013 grant funding.

G. Intergovernmental Review

    The DLT grant program is subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.'' As stated in 
paragraph V.D.1 of this Notice, a copy of a DLT grant application must 
be submitted to the state single point of contact if one has been 
designated. Please see http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc to 
determine whether your state has a single point of contact.

H. Funding Restrictions

1. Eligible Purposes
    a. For grants, rural end-user sites may receive financial 
assistance; hub sites (rural or non-rural) may also receive financial 
assistance if they are necessary to provide DLT services to end-user 
sites. Please see the Application Guide and 7 CFR 1703.101(h).
    b. To fulfill the policy goals laid out for the DLT Program in 7 
CFR 1703.101, the following table lists purposes for financial 
assistance and whether each purpose is generally considered to be 
eligible for the form of financial assistance. Please consult the FY 
2013 Application Guide and the regulations (7 CFR 1703.102) for 
definitions, in combination with the portions of the regulation cited 
in the table) for detailed requirements for the items in the table. RUS 
strongly recommends that applicants exclude ineligible items from the 
grant and match portions of grant application budgets. However, some 
items ineligible for funding or matching contributions may be vital to 
the project. RUS encourages applicants to document those costs in the 
application's budget. Please see the FY 2013 Application Guide for a 
recommended budget format, and detailed budget compilation 
instructions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Grants
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lease or purchase of new eligible DLT       Yes, equipment only.
 equipment and facilities.
Acquire new instructional programming that  Yes.
 is capital asset.
Technical assistance, develop               Yes, up to 10% of the grant.
 instructional material for the operation
 of the equipment, and engineering or
 environmental studies in the
 implementation of the project.
Telemedicine or distance learning           Yes.
 equipment or facilities necessary to the
 project.
Vehicles using distance learning or         No.
 telemedicine technology to deliver
 services.
Teacher-student links located at the same   No.
 facility.
Links between medical professionals         No.
 located at the same facility.
Site development or building alteration,    No.
 except for equipment installation and
 associated inside wiring.
Land or building purchase.................  No.
Building Construction.....................  No.
Acquiring telecommunications transmission   No.
 facilities.
Internet services, telecommunications       No.
 services or other forms of connectivity.
Salaries, wages, benefits for medical or    No.
 educational personnel.
Salaries or administrative expenses of      No.
 applicant or project.
Recurring project costs or operating        No, (equipment & facility
 expenses.                                   leases are not recurring
                                             project costs).
Equipment to be owned by the LEC or other   No.
 telecommunications service provider, if
 the provider is the applicant.
Duplicative distance learning or            No.
 telemedicine services.
Any project that for its success depends    No.
 on additional DLT financial assistance or
 other financial assistance that is not
 assured.
Application Preparation Costs.............  No.
Other project costs not in regulation.....  No.
Cost (amount) of facilities providing       No.
 distance learning broadcasting.
Reimburse applicants or others for costs    No.
 incurred prior to RUS receipt of
 completed application.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    c. Discounts. The DLT Program regulation has long stated that 
manufacturers' and service providers' discounts are not eligible 
matches. The Agency will not consider as eligible any proposed match 
from a vendor, manufacturer, or service provider whose products or 
services will be used in the DLT project as described in the 
application. In recent years, the Agency has noted a trend of vendors, 
manufacturers, and other service providers offering their own products 
and services as in-kind matches for a project when their products or 
services will also be purchased with either grant or cash match funds 
for that project. Such activity is a discount and is therefore not an 
eligible match. Similarly, if a vendor, manufacturer, or other service 
provider proposes a cash match (or any in-kind match) when their 
products or services will be purchased with grant or match funds, such 
activity is a discount and is not an eligible match. The Agency 
actively discourages such matching proposals and will adjust budgets as 
necessary to remove any such matches, which may reduce an application's 
score or result in the application's ineligibility due to insufficient 
match.
    2. Eligible Equipment & Facilities. Please see the FY 2013 
Application Guide for more information regarding eligible and 
ineligible items. In addition, see 7 CFR 1703.102 for definitions of 
eligible equipment, eligible facilities, and

[[Page 38921]]

telecommunications transmission facilities as used in the table above.
    3. Apportioning budget items. Many DLT applications propose to use 
items for a blend of specific DLT eligible project purposes and other 
purposes. RUS will consider funding such items in the overall context 
of the project, but such items will affect the competitive value of the 
project compared with other projects. The proposed project could 
receive a lower score in the subjective areas of the grant to the 
extent that its budget requests items that have limited or questionable 
value to the purposes of distance learning or telemedicine. See the FY 
2013 Application Guide for detailed information on how to apportion use 
and apportioning illustrations.

VI. Application Review Information

A. Special Considerations or Preferences

    1. American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana 
Islands applications are exempt from the matching requirement up to a 
match amount of $200,000 (see 48 U.S.C. 1469a; 91 Stat. 1164).
    2. 7 CFR 1703.112 directs that RUS Telecommunications Borrowers 
receive expedited consideration of a loan application or advance under 
the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901-950aa, et. seq.) if 
the loan funds in question are to be used in conjunction with a DLT 
grant (See 7 CFR 1737 for loans and 7 CFR 1744 for advances).

B. Criteria

    1. Grant application scoring criteria (total possible points: 215). 
See 7 CFR 1703.125 for the items that will be reviewed during scoring, 
and 7 CFR 1703.126 for scoring criteria.
    2. Grant applications are scored competitively subject to the 
criteria listed below.
    a. Rurality category--Rurality of the proposed service area (up to 
45 points).
    b. NSLP category--percentage of students eligible for the NSLP in 
the proposed service area (up to 35 points).
    c. Leveraging category--matching funds above the required matching 
level (up to 35 points).
    d. Need for services proposed in the application and the benefits 
that will be derived if the application receives a grant (up to 55 
points).
    (i) Additional NSLP category--up to 10 of the possible 55 possible 
points are to recognize economic need not reflected in the project's 
National School Lunch Program (NSLP) score, and can be earned only by 
applications whose overall NSLP eligibility is less than 50%. To be 
eligible to receive points under this, the application must include an 
affirmative request for consideration of the possible 10 points, and 
compelling documentation of reasons why the NSLP eligibility percentage 
does not represent the economic need of the proposed project 
beneficiaries.
    (ii) Needs and Benefits category--up to 45 of the 55 possible 
points under this criterion are available to all applicants. Points are 
awarded based on the required narrative crafted by the applicant. RUS 
encourages applicants to carefully read the cited portions of the 
Program regulation and the FY 2013 Application Guide for full 
discussions of this criterion.
    e. Innovativeness category--level of innovation demonstrated by the 
project (up to 15 points).
    f. Cost Effectiveness category--system cost-effectiveness (up to 35 
points).

C. Grant Review Standards

    1. In addition to the scoring criteria that rank applications 
against each other, the Agency evaluates grant applications for 
possible awards on the following items, according to 7 CFR 1703.127:
    a. Financial feasibility.
    b. Technical considerations. If the application contains flaws that 
would prevent the successful implementation, operation or 
sustainability of a project, the Agency will not award a grant.
    c. Other aspects of proposals that contain inadequacies that would 
undermine the ability of the project to comply with the policies of the 
DLT Program.
    2. Applications which do not include all items that determine 
project eligibility and applicant eligibility by the application 
deadline will be returned as ineligible. Applications that do not 
include all items necessary for scoring will be scored as is. Please 
see the FY 2013 Application Guide for a full discussion of each 
required item and for samples and illustrations. The Agency will not 
solicit or consider eligibility or scoring information submitted after 
the application deadline.
    3. The FY 2013 grant Application Guide specifies the format and 
order of all required items.
    4. Most DLT grant projects contain numerous project sites. The 
Agency requires that site information be consistent throughout an 
application. Sites must be referred to by the same designation 
throughout all parts of an application. The Agency has provided a site 
worksheet that requests the necessary information, and can be used as a 
guide by applicants. RUS strongly recommends that applicants complete 
the site worksheet, listing all requested information for each site. 
Applications without consistent site information will be returned as 
ineligible.
    5. As stated above, DLT grant applications which have non-fixed 
end-user sites, such as ambulance and home health care services, are 
scored according to the applicant's entire service area. See the FY 
2013 Application Guide for specific guidance on preparing an 
application with non-fixed end users.
    D. Selection Process. Grants applications are ranked by final 
score. RUS selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the 
availability of funds. RUS may allocate grant awards between medical 
and educational purposes, but is not required to do so. In addition, 
the Agency has the authority to limit the number of applications 
selected in any one state, or for one project, during a fiscal year. 
See 7 CFR 1703.127.

VII. Award Administration Information

A. Award Notices

    RUS generally notifies by mail applicants whose projects are 
selected for awards. The Agency follows the award letter with an 
agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. A 
copy of the standard agreement is posted on the RUS Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLTResources.html . An applicant must execute 
and return the agreement, accompanied by any additional items required 
by the agreement, within the number of days shown in the selection 
notice letter.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    The items listed in Section V of this notice, the DLT Program 
regulation, FY 2013 Application Guide and accompanying materials 
implement the appropriate administrative and national policy 
requirements.

C. Reporting

    1. Performance reporting. All recipients of DLT financial 
assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS 
until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final 
performance report is also required; the final report may serve as the 
last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the 
success of the project in meeting DLT Program objectives. See 7 CFR 
1703.107.
    2. Financial reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance 
must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year in which a 
portion of the

[[Page 38922]]

financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by United States 
Department of Agriculture audit regulations. Please see 7 CFR 1703.108.
    3. Recipient and Subrecipient Reporting. The applicant must have 
the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the 
reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive 
compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency 
Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such 
applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR 
part 170, Sec.  170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the 
Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows:
    a. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more in non-Recovery Act 
funds (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by 
the Recipient to http://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month 
following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently 
underway is a consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, 
including the Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the 
System for Award Management (SAM). As result the FSRS will soon be 
consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
    b. The Total Compensation of the Recipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if 
the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the 
month in which the award was made.
    c. The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient's Executives (5 most 
highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if 
the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to the 
Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the 
subaward was made.
    4. Record Keeping and Accounting.
    The grant contract will contain provisions relating to record 
keeping and accounting requirements.

VIII. Agency Contacts

    A. Web site: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UTP_DLT.html. The DLT Web 
site maintains up-to-date resources and contact information for DLT 
programs.
    B. Telephone: 202-720-0665.
    C. Fax: 202-720-1051.
    D. Email: dltinfo@wdc.usda.gov.
    E. Main point of contact: Norberto Esteves, Acting Director, 
Advanced Services Division, Telecommunications Program, Rural Utilities 
Service.

    Dated: June 24, 2013.
John Charles Padalino,
Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-15597 Filed 6-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P